NIGHT TIDE
1961, AGFA, 84 min, USA, Dir: Curtis Harrington

Director Curtis Harrington’s debut indie feature is a masterpiece, a haunted, poetic hymn to the dark world of the fly-by-night carnival, lonely midways at dawn and the siren call of eons-old passion spawned by the devils of the deep blue sea. In a fond nod to Val Lewton and Jacques Tourneur’s CAT PEOPLE, at-loose-ends sailor Johnny Drake (Dennis Hopper) falls in love with sideshow mermaid Mora (Linda Lawson), who may just somehow be related to the real thing. Shot in and around Santa Monica and Venice Beach in the beat culture’s heyday, the film continues to exert a strong spell, and is brimming with the heady atmosphere of bygone coffeehouses, poet hipsters, languid jazz and bongos on the shore. With Luana Anders, Gavin Muir. "Captures an intangible quality of what Santa Monica was like in the early ’60s. Quite apart from Los Angeles, it was a quiet residential community. The funfair pier has just the right air of seedy despair about it. Everyone seems to be living just off the mainstream." - Glenn Erickson, DVD Savant.


WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH HELEN?
1971, Park Circus/MGM, 101 min, USA, Dir: Curtis Harrington

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? novelist Henry Farrell penned the screenplay the this 1930s-set horror thriller. Middle-aged friends Adelle (Debbie Reynolds) and Helen (Shelley Winters) move to Hollywood to escape their past and open a dance studio for Shirley Temple wannabes - but threatening phone calls and Helen’s deteriorating mental state complicate matters. With Dennis Weaver and Agnes Moorehead.


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